Interviews can be nerve-wracking.
You may have the skills and experience required to do the role, however without being able to communicate effectively and answer interview questions well, it can greatly impact your success of receiving an offer or moving on to other stages of the interview process.
These are common interview questions to help prepare you for your next job interview, along with some tips to ensure you excel:
1. Tell me about yourself / Please introduce yourself
This is a common question to start with and seemingly straight-forward. Don’t be fooled though, it is extremely important. Not only does it start the interview and sets the tone for the remainder of your time with the hiring manager, it allows you to impress them and position yourself in the way you want. It can be more challenging than you realize to sum yourself up quickly.
Tip: Don’t go through your whole story or your resume. Focus on the key aspects of your career journey, skills and goals which align to the job description and company.
2. Why do you like this role and our company? / Why did you apply?
Not only do interview questions like this one allow an interviewer to assess your knowledge of the organization and the job you will be doing, but it demonstrates your dedication to researching and understanding as much as you can before you attend the interview. It also allows you to align your own goals, career path and values to the organization and its goals.
Tip: Do your research on the company and its competitors, and look past their website. Search for news articles, media releases, social media, and more.
3. Please share your work history / Tell me about your relevant experience
An interviewer may ask you to lead the discussion, or they may go through your resume and ask you specific questions about each of your past roles. You should describe each job and its roles and responsibilities. This is for them to get an understanding of how capable you would be managing the requirements of the job and delivering the results the organization needs and expects.
Tip: Focus on the skills and experiences which are most relevant to the job that you are applying to in order to showcase your ability to easily to what they are looking for.
4. Why should you be hired?
This is another seemingly straight-forward question, however it is not enough to simply say that you’re the best person. You should focus on your specific skills and experiences which would put you in a position for success.
Tip: Preparing examples of high-performing moments and achievements will give the hiring manager a better picture of what you can bring to the role.
5. Why is there a gap in your employment?
This may be asked if there is a period of time when you weren’t working or your career path has looked like it’s taken a break.
Tip: Be honest, however place focus on the personal and professional development opportunities which may have occurred during this time, such as travel or new learning developments.
6. What is your career plan? / Where do you want to be in five years?
Whilst most interview questions ask about your past experience and how capable your are of doing the job, this future-focused question will assist your potential employer in understanding how driven and goal-oriented you are. It also shows how committed you are to you career, the company, and your future growth
Tip: Think about what your ideal career path would look like and understand what would be a realistic time frame, then work this into the company you are applying for.
7. Why are you looking for a new role? / Why did you leave your last company?
This question will be to see what you have to say about your last role and company.
Tip: Do not say anything negative about your last company, colleagues or role as this is unprofessional. Just focus on the growth opportunities and new company values and offering.
8. What are your strengths?
You likely have a number of strengths you want to showcase, but focus on a few key ones which are most relevant to the role you are applying for.
Tip: Support your claims with examples which highlight these qualities.
9. How do you manage challenges and stress? / Tell me how you solved a problem in the past?
Interview questions such as these aim to show the interviewer your ability beyond the regular day-to-day responsibilities of your past roles. They show how you handle difficult situations and unexpected setbacks.
Tip: Choose a situation which has ended positively and share your strategies or tactics on how you managed it.
10. What are your weaknesses?
Whilst it may seem like you should give any weaknesses, it is important to answer interview questions honestly. Everyone has weaknesses. When answering this question, also give information on how you have overcome this weakness in the past and how you are working on managing it.
Tip: Keep it brief and focus on a weakness which isn’t linked to the role you are applying for.
11. What are your salary expectations?
The interviewer may avoid this as it is a very direct and sensitive question, however they want to be sure you are comfortable with the compensation you will receive if you are offered the job. Neither you, nor them, will want to waste time if it’s not the right amount.
Tip: Research industry standards and salary trends, and be willing to work with the hiring manager for a suitable outcome.
12. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Being well-rounded and showing your personality and personal values will help give the hiring manager an idea of who you are as a person, not just as a potential employee. This question can be asked to help determine the difference between candidates.
Tip: Keep your answers to intellectual activities such as reading or chess, volunteering, or health-related hobbies such as sports, as these usually give a positive impression.
13. Do you have any questions?
At the end of the interview, the hiring manager may close off their questions with this as a final question. There are a number of questions to ask during a job interview from your perspective, so think about these before you walk into the meeting.
Tip: If the questions you have thought of before have already been answered during the course of the interview, do not ask them again.
You can never be too prepared for a job interview. After all, the interview is your opportunity to demonstrate you are the most suitable candidate for the role.
Practicing interview questions will help you feel confident, which means that you are more likely to do a better job in your interview, which means that you are more likely to make a good impression and be offered the job you are applying for.